It seems within the space of a week, dementia forced open a little wider its door into the future to reveal another of its machinations. Dad stopped walking on his own. It hasn’t helped that his deteriorating ability to balance and loss of spatial awareness is compounded by excruciating pain thanks to prostate cancer and shot knees. What it all adds up to is a new world of walkers and shower chairs and redesigning decor to accommodate these next steps (pardon the pun).
With Dad’s loss of mobility and his relative acceptance, two revelations hit me. The first was the ease with which we’ve adapted to this realisation. Sure Dad has to be reminded each time what his walker is and how to use it, but he’s been pretty acquiescent. It helped that the day after Dad stopped walking on his own, we were able to hire the aids he needed, and that we received a mobility sticker for the car within a week of applying for it. I’m acutely aware that this is not the case for many others living with this and other disabilities. I’m not sure what to do with that knowledge right now as I focus on Dad’s needs other than to feel immensely grateful.
My other realisation was that when I go on my 5 week holiday in a matter of months, Dad might not know me when I get home. This never came into my head until this week. However, as this is something to deal with in the future, I’ve decided to conveniently compartmentalise it until I actually go on my holiday and come home. For now I’ll just focus on what Dad needs now.
Speaking of what Dad needs now… is it incredibly hideous this week also to be grateful that the pain management drugs Dad’s leaves him blissfully sleeping for longer periods of the day and night? We are lucky that Dad’s dementia has brought out the absolute sweetest and wonderful side of him, as opposed to the aggressiveness that can occur. But, bless him, he still needs immediate attention when called for it (and when he is awake he knows how to call for it!), so the moments of reprieve when he is sleeping is Godsend. It is how I’m able to guilt-free write this blog this afternoon with a glass of wine as Mikey sits on my lap and Mum sits with her wine quietly on the lounge. You have to take your moments when they come.